Episode 32: Final Cut Pro X, and the response, a month later

In this episode Terence and Philip discuss how the postproduction landscape has changed a month after Final Cut Pro X was revealed. How has the competition responded and how has the Final Cut Pro community has reacted. Lots of discussion on the launch and subsequent response to Final Cut Pro X, touching on every aspect of the release.

Why is there an emotional connection with creatives and their tools? Where do Final Cut Pro 7 users go? Who is really focused on NLEs in professional postproduction? Oh, and yes, Philip has new software for Final Cut Pro X (inspired by Terry in part).

Many thanks to Isai Espinoza for editing the show again and making us sound smart.

8 thoughts on “Episode 32: Final Cut Pro X, and the response, a month later

  1. The question of mechanics being emotionally attached to tools is one that I would say is a resounding yes! My father and brother build airplanes and they have a deep connection to their tools that the use every day. Snap-on is their brand of choice. I’ve tried to give them both Craftsman tools a time or two over the years and they hate them. My dad once showed me a different, the hand feel of the Snap-on was far superior. The mechanical action of the Snap-on made it so much easier to “feel” what the tool was doing with minimal noise from the tool. It really opened my eyes way before I began using my own software tools.

    If you use the tools you can see a real difference in the “feel” between Media Composer, FCP X and 7 as well as Premiere!

  2. Guys, whilst I take your points that an Editor’s NLE of choice is like a tool or musical instrument – something you become passionate and protective towards and yes ‘emotional’ over – I have to say Phillip, dismissing every FCP user’s bad reaction to FCPX as purely “emotional” is doing them a massive dis-service. Many users may have become emotional (for reasons you both outlined), but I think their reaction was a purely pragmatic one. Why? Well first you have to ask yourself what Apple could/should have done with the release of FCPX (in its present build) to have avoided such wide spread condemnation.
    1) Call it something else. FCPX bears no relation to FCP. Calling it something else would have avoided any possible weird (and a little unbelievable) ‘legal issues’ that there may have been with the name AND more to the point, signalled to everyone that this is a completely new ‘app’ built from the ‘ground up’ and for the future, not the past. There simply would have been no expectation of synergy.
    2) Continued to sell FCP7 (which you agree on). It’s clear that FCPX is NOT ready for the professional market. They’ve created a stripped down mass consumer-friendly software, and have decided that if Professionals want to pimp it out to work for them, then 3rd parties will have to write the software and Professionals can pay the extra for the add-ons. I don’t see a problem with this at all (and to be honest, I don’t think the far majority of Professionals do). Why should a non-professional pay for features that’ll never use. And if the software is as cheap as FCPX is, then most Professionals wouldn’t mind stumping up ‘some cash’ for additional features. But UNTIL these plugins are available, and FCPX has ‘matured’ a little bit, Professionals should still be able to buy FCP. They have a living to make, and for some, one that relies heavily on FCP.
    3) FCP Project Import. This is quite honestly a no-brainer and I have to say probably the biggest issue people had. It’s not only the idea that Apple couldn’t be bothered ‘wasting’ their own R&D money to develop this (instead out-sourcing it for the inevitable 3rd party to make), but what it signifies – Apple do not care about you; Apple can’t be trusted to care about your business. They don’t care how much money you’ve spent over the years, how much you supported them, this (to them) makes no business sense (a massive mistake on their part). To say that you can still open up FCP projects in FCP7 (which you can also have installed) is so dis-respectful to the users it’s hard to believe. Firstly, there’s no guarantee in 2, 5, 10 years time you will even be able to have FCP installed on a future OS, and secondly, it’s crazy to go to the effort of calling something FCP version 10, and say it can’t open any FCP projects. Again, why not simply call it something else. Quite honestly, if at the recent Avid Event Avid had announced (as well as 3rd party hardware support in the future) that they were also gonna support FCP Project Import, then it would have been game-over for FCPX for the Professional market, if it isn’t already. I would guess both Avid and Adobe are fast-tracking this feature request.
    Apple could still ‘fix’ 2 of the above, though they won’t (and I don’t think secretly selling FCP7 to a handful of resellers counts).
    It’s this last point that is the clincher for me and why it’s bad a terrible ‘business’ decision. If there is no benefit to buying FCPX (i.e. basic backward compatibility for older projects which is often a key feature most people consider when deciding on upgrading software), then you have to look at WHY you would buy FCPX at all? If you’re a business owner and looking at the next 5 years, would you want to spend your money on a company/software that has just completely dis-regarded you, who are now making you pay unknown sums of money to get FCPX to work for you (how much will each plug-in cost?); or do you go with a more established NLE with a proven track record, a massive skill base already (no re-learning the paradigm of editing for editors!) and who haven’t just f***ed you over. I think the massive recent sales for Avid and Adobe reveal the answer to that. I also think your Apple chant: “it’s happened, get over it, move on” is funnily prophetic. They are moving on, away from Apple.

    Lastly, do I think Apple thought this would happen? There’s good ‘bad publicity’ (i.e. deliberately launching a product a month before you have supply so people queue and it runs out of stock, and if a few people get hurt in a crush, well then that’s ok), and then there’s bad ‘bad publicity’. They’ve just spent 4 years writing an incredibly powerful software that has been laughed at, mocked on tv, parodied more than anything else I’ve seen in a long time, and referred to as a joke, iMovie Pro and a toy. No, no I don’t think they thought the reaction from their generally acquiescent users would be anything near as bad as this.

    Apart from that, great podcast as usual guys. Always thought-provoking 😉

    Ra-ey

  3. @Ra-ey Saleh the one point I’d take issue with is you calling FCPX “consumer friendly”. This is the funny thing, in some cases FCPX IS less overtly technical than FCP7, but in just as many cases, I think you need to be just as savvy or moreso to use do the same operation in FCPX.

    If FCPX is “dumbed down”, pray to god no one dumbs down my car!

    I think my biggest disappointment from editors regarding FCPX is that can’t seem to distinguish absent features from target market. In any number of ways Apple botched this release [communication being problem #1], but what I think is SO frustrating is that there is actually a lot to like about the software, but it’s getting buried under the noise of the disgruntled. There are so many features in FCPX that WOULD NOT be there if this was a consumer oriented tool, but the features that are missing make it difficult for some people to give it any kind of credit. I just can’t help thinking that there’s another shoe to drop here…

    I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not working yet for every job I do, but I have already done work in the program, and am very encouraged by the experience. Apple may have to backtrack or side-step some ideas down the road, but that’s going to happen with any new software. It’s not like FCP7 was ever perfect! But it seems some people can’t muscle their way past thinking “different=bad”.

    Of course, people have gotta earn a living, so I wouldn’t blame anyone for moving to another platform. I can only speak for myself- I’ll be sticking with a combination of FCP7 and FCPX for the short term and wait to see how this plays out a bit longer.

  4. Marcus, for the record, I think FCPX is a fantastic ‘app’, which I touched on earlier, but I should have made it more clear. For an all-in-one solution it really can’t be beaten on many levels (as long of course as your camera deals in files). But the ‘app’ has now been around long enough for most people to make an honest judgement of it themselves, and more importantly, where they see it and them going. It just happens to be different directions I believe.
    You are absolutely right to wait and see what happens next – as you obviously aren’t looking to upgrade your system anytime soon – it’s just a large number of people don’t have that luxury and have decided to make a decision now.

  5. OMF support is fundamental to my workflow – there’s no way I’m going to attempt to mix down a 90 minute documentary with the rudimentary tools supplied in FCP X.

    Likewise, I hand off colour grading to someone who specialises in that area …

    To me FCP X, totally misses the mark for people who work in collaboration with others. Selling it the way Apple have is disingenuous at best and fraudulent at worst.

    1. OMF support is available for FCP X, from a third party. Expect that all niche workflows will be supported by third parties, not in the app natively, although I do expect much better audio mixing tools down the track a way.

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